College of Coastal Georgia Assistant Professor of English Dr. Mary McGinnis was selected as a Governor’s Teaching Fellow for the 2023-2024 cohort. McGinnis is one of 16 faculty members from institutions of higher education across the state to participate, following a highly competitive application and selection process. McGinnis said she was honored to be selected as the College’s representative.
The Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program was established in 1995 by former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller to provide Georgia’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Miller envisioned that this program would address faculty members’ pressing need to use emerging technologies, and learn instructional approaches that are becoming increasingly important for teaching in today’s society. Fellows have the opportunity to attend a three-day symposium held six times over the academic year, while also engaging in an instructional improvement project on their home campuses.
Part of the application process includes a description of the course or project that will be the fellow’s focus for the fellowship year. McGinnis’ work will focus on ePortfolios. She will be writing a research report on the benefits of ePortfolios in the classroom. McGinnis hopes that her work will encourage more faculty to incorporate the use of ePortfolios in their classrooms.
The symposia include a combination of structured instructional and faculty development activities, as well as self-directed activities designed to meet individual needs. McGinnis plans to use what she is learning at the symposia in her classrooms.
“We’re learning a lot of things that can be applied to all of my classes, like shaping assignments in ways that make it difficult to use artificial intelligence (AI) to complete,” McGinnis said. “I learned a lot about AI in our first session. After September, I feel prepared to not only deal with AI, but use it as a teaching tool.”
McGinnis is also finding community among her cohort.
“I also like that I get to work with people from different areas. For example, during much of last month’s workshop, I was paired up with an engineer, and she had a different way of looking at things that helped me rethink my approach to problems,” McGinnis said. “It’s like a professional development workshop that comes with a huge bank of resources in all of the different people attending.”
To date, more than 200 disciplines, professions and fields have been represented by over 700 fellows from more than 90 public and private institutions statewide. The Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program assumes the complex challenge of moving faculty members to the leading edge of instructional practice.